Professional legal advice for Accident & Emergency compensation
By its very nature, the Accident & Emergency (A&E) department in many hospitals is very busy and much of its work is urgent. Patients' lives are often lost despite the very best efforts of medical staff, so compensation claims are rare. However, if you feel that you have suffered as a result of A&E treatment, we can help you determine whether or not you have a valid claim.
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What is Accident & Emergency Negligence?
Medical negligence is rare in A&E departments, but mistakes can happen. They usually relate to tests and examinations not being thorough enough, or medical staff failing to follow up properly after an examination, for example:
- Not completing a thorough examination
- Not recording a thorough history of the patient’s injury or condition,
- Not making sure that x-rays or an appropriate scan is completed
- Not referring the patient to an appropriate specialist
This failure to meet standards can cause your condition to deteriorate or even cause new injury.
You may be sent home whilst your condition remains untreated. If your case appears to follow this kind of pattern and any of the examples above, you may be entitled to make a claim.
Some specific examples of negligence that have occurred in Accident & Emergency departments in the past include:
- Missed wrist fractures due to lack of follow-up x-ray, which untreated could lead to bone death or osteoarthritis
- Undetected nerve damage in hands or wrists due to incorrect examination techniques
- Missed cervical spine fractures or dislocation due to an incorrectly carried out x-ray. Untreated, this could result in paralysis
- Undetected glass or other foreign objects in the body due to lack of follow-up x-rays when one or more foreign objects have been removed
- Undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy (where a fertilised egg develops outside the womb – usually in the fallopian tube). Untreated, this condition results in death
- Eye injuries made worse by incorrect management in the A&E department, or failure to refer the patient to an ophthalmologist
- Delays in diagnosing head or brain injuries, due to attention being focused on another more obvious injury
Why does this happen?
A&E Negligence tends to occur due to the pressure on the NHS and the high bed occupancy rates. The full overnight beds and the lack of staff can make it difficult for professionals to meet targets and timescales. A&E departments are under stress and this can result in errors being made.
When can I make a Medical Negligence claim?
In most cases, claims need to be made within three years from when you either suffered negligent care, or three years from when you first officially discovered your injury. However, this time restriction can vary depending on the circumstances of your case. For example, when making a claim for a child, the three year time restriction begins after the child turn 18 years old. Likewise, someone who lacks mental capacity and cannot make a claim on their own may also be exempt from the restriction.
What compensation will I receive?
Your settlement will depend upon your specific case and what damages have been caused by negligent treatment. The settlement can help to cover any ongoing treatment or care that you may require, or any adjustments that you may need in your day-to-day life because of what has happened. It can also recoup income that you may have lost due to taking time off work. Your Accident & Emergency experience may have been extremely traumatic and hard to cope with, especially if it involves a loss of life. A settlement can also help you to pay for therapy to help you deal with what has happened.
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How are Accident & Emergency claims funded?
There are various options of funding for claims. Many of our cases are funded using Conditional Fee Agreements, also called a ‘No Win No Fee’ medical negligence claim. In a Conditional Fee Agreement, you will only pay for our solicitors’ work if we win the case for you. In limited cases we can offer legal aid. Our solicitors can review and discuss with you what options of funding are available to you and the best route to take.
How can Switalskis help me?
Our solicitors have helped many people claim compensation after being affected by mistakes made in hospital Emergency Departments. As medical negligence solicitors, our role is to examine the medical records, working closely with experienced medical experts to establish what happened in your case, and whether the care you were given in Accident and Emergency was negligent. Once we have established there was negligence, we work hard to ensure the appropriate level of compensation is awarded, which will improve your quality life both health-wise and financially.
Our team includes solicitors who are accredited as specialists by both The Law Society and the patients’ charity, Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA). We are also recognised as being among the top Clinical Negligence teams in England by the Legal 500 UK, the foremost legal guide for clients.